87 N.J.L.J. 700
October 29, 1964
Services of Professional Adjustor
Intermediaries Aiding Unlawful Practice
This inquiry poses the questions:
Is it proper for an attorney who represents a
plaintiff in an automobile accident case to hire an
independent, non-attorney, adjustor to negotiate and come
to a settlement of the plaintiff's case with the
defendant's insurance carrier?
If the answer to the foregoing inquiry is in the affirmative, is it proper for the attorney to pay the lay adjustor a fixed percentage of the settlement as his fee?
The last paragraph of Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 33
Partnerships between lawyers and members of other
professions or non-professional persons should not be
formed or permitted where any part of the partnership
employment consists of the practice of law.
Canon 34 prohibits division of legal fees with a layman; Canon
35 directs the attorney to avoid performing professional legal
services through lay intermediaries; and Canon 47 provides:
No lawyer shall permit his professional services, or
his name, to be used in aid of, or to make possible, the
unauthorized practice of law by any lay agency, personal
The engagement of a layman to settle a claim offends Canons 33 and 35; and, to the extent it enables the adjustor to perform legal
services, it constitutes aiding the unlawful practice contrary to Canon 47.